Cadet World bronze medalist Elizabeth Tartakovsky (second from right) on the podium with silver medalist Alina Klyuchnikova (RUS), gold medalist Liza Pusztai and bronze medalist Natalia Botello (MEX). Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE
Cadet World bronze medalist Elizabeth Tartakovsky and Coach Yury Gelman.
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Livingston, N.J.) came into the Cadet World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on Sunday with the rare combination of being a first-time cadet team member who has represented the United States at the Junior World Championships in 2016.
While it isn’t uncommon for talented young fencers to compete at both the Junior (U20) and Cadet (U17) Worlds, last year, Tartakovsky narrowly missed qualifying for the younger squad and, instead, competed in both individual and team as a junior. While she was not in contention for an individual medal at the 2016 Junior Worlds, Tartakovsky came home with hardware in the team event where the Americans won bronze with three U17 fencers on the four-person squad.
“Since I made the junior team last year, I kind of knew that, even though my individual result wasn’t what I wanted, I knew that I could come back this year and, if I could fence at a junior level, I could definitely show even more in cadets and fence people on my level even better,” Tartakovsky said.
Indeed, in her final tournament of cadet eligibility, the Livingston High School junior went 4-1 in the direct elimination rounds and earned a bronze medal – the second podium finish of the competition for Team USA after her men’s saber teammate, Christopher Walker (Atlanta, Ga.) won silver on Saturday.
Tartakovsky finished the pool rounds with a 4-2 record and won her table of 64 bout against Anna Vankova (RUS), 15-9. Tartakovsky took out the No. 9 and No. 8 seeds in her next two bouts, defeating Melis Saricam (TUR) and Abigail Valdez Andrade (MEX) by 15-4 and 15-7 scores, respectively.
In the quarter-finals, Tartakovsky fenced Ilieva Yoana (BUL) – the current European Championships silver medalist and a three-time medalist on the Cadet European circuit. Tartakovsky took an 8-3 lead at the break and didn’t look back, taking the bout, 15-10.
The win would guarantee Tartakovsky a medal at the Cadet Worlds as one of the four remaining athletes to advance to the semifinals.
“Since I had the feeling of Junior Worlds last year and that pressure and that experience, I was able to build off that and get into the mindset to fence my best instead of being scared of the fact that I’m at the World Championships,” Tartakovsky said.
In the semis, Tartakovsky drew Liza Pusztai (HUN) – the two-time reigning Cadet European Champion who won bronze at the 2016 Cadet Worlds at just 14-years-old. Pusztai took an early lead at 8-3 at the break and Tartakovsky couldn’t break her opponent who took the bout, 15-3, and went on to win gold.
The medal marks the first podium finish at the Cadet Worlds for a women’s saber fencer since 2012.
“It’s a dream come true. For the most part, I’m just really glad I fenced well and that when it counted, when it really mattered, I was able to get over the pressure and just fence the best I can,” said Tartakovsky who noted that the support of her family, teammates and friends helped her throughout the day. “Everyone is always so supportive and especially with a sport like fencing, or any sport, sometimes you start putting yourself down if you feel like you’re not doing as well as you wanted to, but my friends, my coaches, my family – they always tell me to believe in myself and I just want to say thank you.”
Tartakovsky’s finish is the latest in a strong tradition of Junior and Cadet World medals won by athletes from her club, Manhattan Fencing Center where all three of the program’s 2016 Olympians were past Junior or Cadet World medalists with Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) holding individual bronzes as both a junior and cadet; Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) winning three junior team medals; and Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.) winning team silver with Wozniak at the 2008 Junior Worlds.
“When you train, sometimes you think that everyone believes in you and your teammates especially. They tell you that you can do it, you can win this competition and you can be so much better, but sometimes you think that all of that is unattainable,” Tartakovsky said. I guess when you finally start getting good results and your hard work pays off, it just feels great.”
Tartakovsky will return to competition on Thursday for the junior individual event and Saturday for the opening rounds of junior team.
“I just want to focus on fencing my best and quality of fencing. If the quality of fencing is there, then the results show, but if you just think about the results, you’re going to lose your fencing, you’re going to put pressure on yourself,” Tartakovsky said.
A top-eight finisher at the 2016 Cadet World Championships, Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.) came to Plovdiv to improve on her past result and read the world podium for the first time as an individual.
Linder, who won bronze with Tartakovsky in the junior team event last year, took the top seed after a 6-0 pool finish and won her first bout over Candela Belen Espinosa Veloso (ARG), 15-8, before a 15-10 loss to Sabina Martis (ROU) in the table of 32.
First-time team member Edith Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.) also fell to Martis, losing her table of 64 bout, 15-12 after a 3-2 pool result.
The cadet men’s foil event featured a trio of first-time team members in Andrew Machovec (East Rockaway, N.Y.), Julian Cheng (Lexington, Mass.) and Andrew Zheng (Jericho, N.Y.)
After a 4-1 pool result, Cheng earned the No. 22 seed in the direct elimination rounds and a bye into the table of 64 where he defeated Moritz Schauer (AUT), 15-8.
In the table of 32, Cheng closed the first period of his bout against 2016 Cabries Cadet European Cup silver medalist Shimpei Matsubuchi (JPN) with a 3-1 run to take a 7-4 lead. Cheng held the lead through the second at 13-10 and closed out with two touches early in the third to end the bout at 15-10.
While Cheng jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the table of 16 against 2016 Cadet World medalist Tommaso Marini (ITA), the Italian came back to tie the bout at 10 late in the first period. Cheng closed the period with two touches of his own and went on to take the bout, 15-12.
One win away from a medal, Cheng’s run to the podium was cut short by eventual silver medalist Vladislav Mylnikov (RUS) in the quarters. While Cheng held a 10-5 lead late in the first period, Mulnikov scored one to end the period and then went on a nine-touch run in the second to win the bout, 15-10.
Seeded 10th out of pools with a 5-0 result, Machovec won his table of 64 bout against Jacob Brandt Lang (DEN), but lost in the 32 to Jonas Winterberg Poulsen (DEN) who ended the bout with five straight touches and a 15-13 victory.
Zheng dropped just one bout in pools to take the 16th seed with a 5-1 record. After a bye into the table of 64, Zheng defeated Ricardo Pacheco (BRA), 15-6.
In the table of 32, Zheng was down by one against 2017 European Championships medalist Jules Andriamampianina (FRA), but tied the bout at nine in the third period to force overtime. The French fencer would come away with the win, however, when he took the first sudden death score and a 10-9 victory.
Visit http://www.fencingtime.com/LiveResults/PlovdivJCWFCH/index.htm for complete results.
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Cadet Women’s Saber World Championships
1. Liza Pusztai (HUN)
2. Alina Klyuchnikova (RUS)
3. Natalia Botello (MEX)
3. Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Livingston, N.J.)
5. Anna Kudryaeva (RUS)
6. Yin Fei Chan (HKG)
7. Yoanna Ilieva (BUL)
8. Hayoung Jeon (KOR)
17. Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.)
40. Edith Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
Cadet Men’s Foil World Championships
1. Kirill Borodachev (RUS)
2. Vladislav Mylnikov (RUS)
3. Ivan Troshin (RUS)
3. Alessio Di Tommaso (ITA)
5. Blake Broszus (CAN)
6. Kerem Ercan (GER)
7. Julian Cheng (Lexington, Mass.)
8. Alessandro Stella (ITA)
21. Andrew Machovec (East Rockaway, N.Y.)
25. Andrew Zheng (Jericho, N.Y.)
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